Auroras, commonly known as Northern Lights, are a rare sky phenomenon that result in stunning streaks of colourful light in the sky near the polar regions. However, there are instances where these flashing lights have also appeared across the world, especially if the solar storm that causes them is of strong intensity. Recently, people on a flight to Europe bore witness to a mesmerizing aurora that was snapped by a user, and the social media post has gone viral since then.
Auroras captured on a flight
Instagram user Vincent Ledvina, who calls himself ‘The Aurora Guy’, shared a breathtaking video of auroras that were seen during a flight. In an Instagram post, Ledvina wrote, “Have you ever seen the northern lights from a plane!?”
The mesmerizing auroras were snapped as the plane crossed over Canada en route to Europe. Ledvina mentioned in the video, “I stayed up all night to capture a glimpse of the northern lights on my flight to Europe…”
The Instagram post has since gone viral with over 50000 likes. People were awestruck by this phenomenon. One user commented, “This how heaven must look like”, while another wrote, “Omg you’re so lucky!! I never even thought about the possibility!”
What are auroras?
Auroras, also known as Northern lights or Aurora Borealis at the North Pole and Southern lights or Aurora Australis at the South Pole, are shifting curtains of light in greens, blues and pinks in the night sky. These mesmerizing lights are constantly changing shape and intensity, from dim and scattered, to bright enough that they are visible for miles.
They are typically seen in the northern polar regions, including in places like Canada, Alaska, and Norway. The Southern Lights, or aurora australis, are seen in the southern polar regions, such as Antarctica and southern parts of South America, Africa, and Australia.
How do auroras form?
According to NASA, when a solar storm interacts with Earth’s magnetic field, it results in the formation of geomagnetic storms. The solar particles released during this interact with the various gases present in our atmosphere and form stunning Auroras which are a sight to behold, especially from places like Reykjavik in Iceland and Svalbard in Norway.
Scientists study auroras from a variety of vantage points: below, above, and within. From below, ground-based telescopes and radar look upward to track what’s happening in the sky. From above, NASA missions such as THEMIS investigate what causes auroras to dramatically shift from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of colour, according to the space agency.